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Preaching patience – Ricky Hatton pulls rank in Brett McGinty opponent debate

Ricky Hatton has had to rein Brett McGinty [1(0)-0] in ahead of his second pro fight tomorrow night.

The Donegal middleweight came through as tough a debut fight as you can get late last year when he nigh on went life and death against Jan Ardon over six.

Having come through that and banked some serious early experience the 22-year-old wanted a tougher test for his Skydome in Coventry clash on the undercard Sam Egginton and Carlos Molina’s WBC ranking title fight.

However, Hatton, who didn’t want Ardon as a debut opponent but gave in to McGinty pressure, is stamping his authority this time around – and was adamant his charge would have a progressive learning fight rather than a sizable test.

The Commonwealth Youth and European Junior medal winner will now take on the extremely durable Jordan Grannum, a survival specialist ‘The Hitman’ believes is a more suitable opponent for McGinty at such an early stage of his career.

“He wants to impress everybody,” continued Hatton. “His debut was a bit tougher in the ring than we would’ve all wanted it to be but he’s better for that and you’re going to see that on May 22nd.

“I told Brett I didn’t want the fight [v Jan Ardon]. Brett had not boxed for a long time. It was a long time since his last amateur fight. He had come over to Manchester, away from his family, his loved ones, and because of Covid and the lockdown his medical seemed to take forever to get through. It was an absolute nightmare. It was a very frustrating time for Brett.

“Brett had actually sparred with him [Ardon] and done really, really well. So Brett said to me; ‘No, no I can’t take any more disappointments. I really want to fight’, so we flew with it.

“He was a tougher opponent than I thought but Brett showed his guts, his determination; he showed his heart and he came through it. This time he wanted a better opponent but he’s already had that side and far more of a fight than he should’ve had.

“I’ve said to him it won’t be long before we’ll have plenty of tough fights for you. Learn your trade first. Put a couple of hours in the bank. Get the experience and learn. Once you’ve ticked a few more boxes then we’ll go for a test, that’s how it goes.”

It’s not that McGinty isn’t capable of defeating more ambitious or talented opponents, Hatton just believes he stands a better chance if armed with the kind of experience you can only get from fighting.

The former world champion isn’t in a rush with his pupil and wants him to learn on the job without massive risk of defeat.

“I understand it can be frustrating as I can see his potential. You have to take that learning as you go along. You have to improve opposition, improve stamina, heart, desire. Brett already ticks a lot of those boxes. I don’t want him ticking those boxes on his debut, I want him reaching them as we go along.

“His debut at six rounds, it was very tough but it will have done him the world of good. Knocking a guy out seconds in, there is no learning in that. It was a tough opponent for him but, again, there is no rush going forward. My intention is to keep moving him slowly, slowly as we go along. Small but important steps.

“When we feel the need to move up a level we’ll do that. And we’ll know ourselves when that time is right. Brett has confidence in the people behind him.”

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com